Primary caregivers of adults who are dependent on illegal substances
Addiction has seen to be an illness that not only affects the individual but the holistic well-being of the family. Primary caregivers form an integral part of the family system. The caregivers take on roles that might stagnate their own development and coping methods, which if used, could affect the entire family system. There are in-conclusive research on the effect of the coping method of the primary caregiver on the well-being of himself/herself and the family system as a whole. The aim of the research was to quantitatively, through making use of Orford’s Coping questionnaire, explore the different coping methods employed by the primary caregiver of an adult substance dependent and thereafter to qualitatively, through utilizing a narrative approach, explore the experience of the different means of coping. The study design was a mixed method study. Quantitative research was the dominant approach followed by qualitative research. The population was the primary caregivers of adult substance dependents who have sought treatment and who resided in the Mitchell’s Plain area. Eighty participants completed the coping questionnaire and four narratives were done. Quantitative research results was analyzed using SPSS and the qualitative research was analyzed by making use of narrative analysis whereby the interview was analyzed Labov and Waletzky’s structural model of narrative. The theoretical framework from which the researcher addressed this study was collaboration between the family systems theory and the disease model of addiction. Quantitative findings indicated that there more caregivers make use of tolerant coping than engaged and withdrawal coping. There is a distinction between the coping methods that males and females make use of. Qualitative findings indicated that there is no ‘correct’ way of coping with being the caregiver of a substance dependant. Caregivers take on coping methods that they are comfortable with.